THE INTERVIEW — Hermes Courier

 

Self-Employed Courier Driver – Own Car Required. Hermes Parcelnet Ltd.

INCOME POTENTIAL CIRCA £25 – £100 PER DAY. ROUNDS AVAILABLE FROM 1 TO 7 DAYS PER WEEK INCLUDING WEEKEND COVER.

In order to apply, you’ll need: A car or van with a valid MOT and insurance.

If you have a car, a full driving licence, are able to collect parcels from our local sub depot between 8am – 10am and time on your hands why not join our 11,000 couriers who deliver parcels in their local areas. We have Managers in your postcode Area and they are looking to meet up with people who would like to provide a service to Hermes. Over a cup of coffee, they can explain to you what we are looking for, how we work, how it pays and how you may be able to help provide a service to us as a self-employed courier. This can be ad hoc during our peak times, at weekend or 6 days a week. We currently have a vacancy for:  Perm 6 day a week. You then have the opportunity to discuss what work you are looking and if it is work that you would like to pursue or not. After the meeting you will be given the opportunity to progress your application further. You will need to bring your: Driving licence, 2 forms of ID that show your address, National Insurance number (to check you are legal to work).”

Having responded to a job advert online, I was emailed and offered to come along for an afternoon interview/coffee-chat with a local field manager. This to be held in a relatively quiet place, so the usual coffee joints e.g. McDonalds, Starbucks, Costa, supermarket; were ruled out as deemed too busy. So instead, a fitting pub carvery type-place was chosen, as they tended to be a bit quieter according to the Hermes representative. (I will not reveal the identity/gender of the manager and will use the name ‘Robin’ for this blog.) Although, this pub still turned out to be quite busy, resulting in a fairly indiscrete conversation, much to my annoyance. I might as well have hung a ‘desperate’ or ‘fool’ sign over my head, instead.

But, on the day of the initially agreed interview, got a call from Robin in the morning to say that it was running late, and could we postpone to another time or day. Their schedule was too jam-packed apparently and this lowered my confidence naturally, assuming that many other candidates were in the running. On the next agreed interview day, turned up as per schedule (albeit 15 minutes early to be prompt) outside the pub but decided to check whether Robin had arrived, too. I received a text back indicating that Robin, again was running late by about 20 minutes and currently still interviewing inside. Next, saw an unaccompanied man immediately walk out who looked like a typical Hermes courier job applicant—don’t ask me why thought this, won’t divulge his appearance details either on this mere speculation. Perhaps, I myself look like a typical Hermes courier job applicant…. After another 25 minutes, what appeared to be another job candidate, walked out smiling. Then, a text arrives, and beckoned inside. From directions given, find the Hermes bod Robin and immediately offered a drink, which I refuse as in no need, and hopefully this expense saving will help add to the much-needed driver payment fund. Following a quick hello, I’m to be showed a presentation. Robin has both an iPad and a laptop—doubling up on the technology here. However, the manager who seems quite new to role, is clueless on technology. Coming to the rescue, I assist having a few IT skills in my locker and start the laptop PowerPoint slideshow, explaining the <SPACEBAR> button and additional commands if feeling confident. Running through this presentation on my own initially as Robin gets a phone call, 2nd run and another call. Eventually for the 3rd time, the Hermes representative realises that perhaps they can leave the phone ringing off the hook for the sorry drivers out of respect and talk to me, to explain the important show, most of which I get the gist of anyway.

Afterwards, we have a very brief conversation. This mainly focusses on a few key job points, these I’ll mention further down. Surprisingly though, Hermes:

  • Didn’t ask about my CV or anything personal.
  • Didn’t ask what driving or delivering experience, I had.
  • Whether, I had any customer service experience at all.
  • If I had any experience with HHT/scanning equipment.
  • If I had any health problems which might affect my working.
  • What actual vehicle I drove or even looked at it.

All we discussed apart from the job, was I’d previously had a totally different career and to re-confirm that I lived in the location required.

Then, out of the blue, Robin gets a text message. “Oh no,” the person who had agreed to start tomorrow, has advised that it’s no longer for them. This does not please Robin, all week they had been promised a jobseeker was onboard but hopes dashed at the last minute.

Hang on, what’s this, “Would you like a job, starting tomorrow!?” I’m asked. Wow, fortune favours the brave I say, so why not.

Right then, the iPad is now woken up ready for action. Firstly, I’m to show my passport, proof of address and drivers licence—all of which get a millisecond of viewing before being returned. A few forms filled, few signatures and that is it my friend, tomorrow morning I am to turn up to local depot and get my Hermes packages. Whahahey, I’m a truly blessed, one lucky son of a gun, am I not. Do I need anything, I ask, “only a burner phone” apparently, that’s it. This because the damn customers will call at all hours when you leave a calling card number.

Sounds good, so you’re probably wondering what happened next. Erm, not much. Well, if being a true undercover reporter like the guy on the YouTube videos (first news-weblink at bottom), then quite possibly I unwittingly, like thousands of other couriers could & would potentially break the law. Additionally: the bank balance not large enough, boredom threshold already depleted, and didn’t feel the need to get varying types of insurance when clearly this has all been done before. You’ll find out the reasons why trouble could have brewed now…

Dear, dear assholes, why are you doing this to people. Here, are the apparent benefits of working as a courier for Hermes:

  • Be your own boss — No, you are a Hermes slave but working mainly on your own.
  • Flexible hours — Only if you can get away with it.
  • Earn good money — Definitely not. Actually, maybe some make it work but generally no, not without lots of unfair risk and pain from reading courier feedback. Well-below minimum wage regardless what they say (see further down). Getting paid accurately, is another issue and its monthly pay, so a lot of fuel outlay.
  • Deliver in your local area — Hope so, otherwise it’ll be heck worse than it already is.
  • No experience required — No suppose not. Driving ability, navigation, cartography, organisation, physically fit, people person…
  • Long term stability — Err but what if I can’t get my friend to cover, what if I’m off sick or my car engine explodes…
  • Training and support — Hmmm…
  • Opportunities — Tons and tons.
  • Technology — HHT guns, amazing! (When they work—10hr battery countdown…)
  • Partner Rewards Plus Programme — Costs you £15. Buy your own uniform, yes you pay. 10-20% off a gym, if there’s still life left in those legs. Kwik Fit discount but this won’t save your broken car after all the stop-starting! Cheap cinema if you can afford it and still awake.

 

There is one good point I found out from my Hermes interview, before I delve into the downright ridiculousness, is that unlike other courier companies the local depot was in the same town and not in Outer Mongolia, which surprised me.

Okay, let’s get to it, this first one’s a biggie. The negatives:

Insurance: Motor insurance is required to deliver and collect parcels and/or catalogues on behalf of Hermes. Additional insurance, on a third party only basis, can be provided at a daily rate to couriers who are undertaking deliveries or collections for Hermes via a top up insurance scheme. In order to provide a courier service to Hermes, couriers are required to complete an insurance decision letter, if a completed letter is not returned to Hermes the courier will be automatically included in the top up insurance scheme and charged accordingly. The courier is responsible for their own appropriate vehicle insurance. Couriers can opt into the top up insurance scheme at a cost of 55p for each day services are provided. This covers the courier on a third party basis whilst they are providing service to Hermes.”

QBE top-up Courier InsurancePointless. I am assured, that if Hermes take a mere £0.55 off my daily wage (which could add up to over £175 a year if work their suggested number of days), then all is good and covered. Based on much research, this is currently a whopping lie until proven differently. To get a Hermes courier job, firstly they stipulate that you need your own insurance, at least SDP (Social, Domestic and Pleasure) on the vehicle you intend to use. Here’s the catch. As soon as you get this job, regardless of any additional insurance, YOU DO NEED TO ADVISE your main insurance company of your change in career and what you’ll be using the vehicle for. I was not advised to do this and given the impression that everything was rosy. Ah now, problem is, any insurance company worth their salt is going to have objection immediately for the following reasons, if it doesn’t invalidate your policy anyway that is.

  • They are not covering for business, let alone courier use. Who is to say, what you were doing exactly when an accident occurs, who’s covering…
  • A car doing thousands more miles, stopping and starting all the time, in use longer, parked anywhere and everywhere, being driven by a tired driver etc. etc. is simply more at risk and more likely to develop fault. How could this affect your SDP driving as well…
  • QBE is third party only cover, I’d put the Jag away dear. As a business owner, this is the Hermes spiel, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Crash car, oh that’s a lot of money gone, I need a banger pronto!
  • Proper courier car insurance cover costs a fortune.
  • If you’re not upfront with your insurance company, it’s likely to cause you future pain, increased premiums and what exactly will QBE cover…?

Subsitutes? Employer’ Liability insurance?

Use of ‘Substitutes: Couriers are not under an obligation to provide the service personally. Accordingly, Couriers have the unconditional right to nominate a substitute to provide the service on their behalf, at any time for any reason. However, it is the Courier’s responsibility to ensure that their nominated substitute carries out the service in line with the standards to which they would be subject if they were providing the service. The Courier is responsible for managing and making payments to the substitute for the service they (the substitute) provide.”

Again, not sure this is entirely legal???

Goods In Transit insurance? & Public Liability?

Courier Liability: If, as a result of negligence or carelessness, a Courier causes damage to a customer’s or third party’s property, or cause injury to a customer or third party, the Courier is liable to the customer or third party for that damage or injury.

Other Business/Personal insurance…

Sick Pay — None. 10 days’ work lost?

Holiday Pay — None. 30 days’ work lost?

Pension — Nope.

Mobile Phone + Call costs — Your costs.

Clothes — Your costs.

Fuel, Fuel, Fuel — Your costs.

Vehicle running costs — You, you, you.

Driving/Parking fines — You.

Parcel storage area — You. Insured?

Redeliveries — What was that, £0.55p … £0.275 … £0.1833333, don’t tell you that do they! Getting worse all the time…

Mistakes — You. Don’t do a POD, lose job instantly, simply and sternly put by Hermes.

Lost time (traffic jams, road works, route calculation, depot issues, customer problems, organising collections etc. etc.) — YOU! How long will a round take today…

And, don’t forget HMRC! Although, you might be able to save with some tax benefits, I’d imagine.

So, minus all that from what could be £25 on average (to maybe a £100! 😉), for how many hours, fuel, extra insurances assuming everything covered, no cover pay, call charges, vehicle fines, vehicle costs, clothes, redeliveries, no storage or pension contribution, more risks (and with substitutes) … don’t add up to much for all the hassle, I tell you.

GMB (UK trade union) investigating further.

This job, quite frankly is downright taking advantage of people, it’s a con! Stop getting deliveries by this company if you can.

 

And you wonder why,

I changed my mind…

😊

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/jul/18/life-as-a-hermes-driver-they-offload-all-the-risk-on-to-the-courier

http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/hermes-insurance-question

http://www.itv.com/news/2017-01-25/hermes-gmb-taking-legal-action-against-delivery-courier/

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/03/hmrc-steps-up-investigation-into-employment-status-of-hermes-couriers

http://www.cityam.com/274038/mps-press-delivery-firm-hermes-pays-its-drivers

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/oct/14/hermes-couriers-rebel-christmas-workload

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2206718/hermes-delivery-driver-pictured-with-so-many-parcels-crammed-into-his-car-that-it-was-impossible-to-see-out-of-the-passenger-window/

 

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